TEST TIME Once you finish reading this CMP Series article, watch this series of short video clips in which Jonathan Kopp,
partner/global director of Ketchum Digital, and a presenter at Learning2011, talks about the convergence of social media and digital tools and learning: learningwiki.com/kopp11.
Then, to earn one hour of CEU credit, visit pcma.org/convenecmp to answer questions about the information contained within this CMP Series article and the videos.
The Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) is a registered trademark of the Convention Industry Council.
first-term president are very similar to what we see first-term presidents of corporations face. And that is, how do you be an active learner by building learning, thinking, and listening into your schedule? Leaders need to create that sit-and-think time. I remember having ice cream with President Clinton late at night in the middle of a project and marveling about how curi- ous he was.We have to do a better job of enabling, support- ing, and allowing people to schedule time to be great learners.
What do you think ofthe typical learning experiences — general sessions, keynotes, breakouts, recognition awards, networking events — offered at meetings today? Here is the challenge—and I find myself challenged by it at my own events:We inevitably need, have, and continue rituals, which are a good thing. You want to have a world-class speaker, excellent entertainment, and networking. But I believe what we have to start doing at events is to create a higher degree of personalization of the learning experience. And not to do something at events that can easily be done online back at home.
This probably means that we need to move [away] from the
one-hour or 90-minute presentations with the speaker or panel in front of the classroom. This is not to say that we don’t want experts to tackle problems and show what succeeded or failed. However, when you attend these breakout sessions, the truth is that 95 percent of the content is not delivered interactively, and learners want that level of interaction. The number three person of a national corporation attended Learning2011 and wanted to find out what other large corpora- tions are spending on orientating new employees. It was fasci- nating and disappointing to him that he could not get close to the answer he needed. That information would have been life- saving for him as his organization is hiring thousands of new employees. He simply couldn’t get other people to be that spe- cific. He was in a building with 2,000 colleagues and couldn’t succeed in his mission. Sure, there are surveys with this information, but it’s pre- sented in ranges. He came to me afterward, and although he
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loved the conference, he said that we have to redesign these events to allow people who want part of the ritual to be satis- fied, but along with that, attendees are provided with answers to questions that are personal and very specific to their needs.
Why aren’t we changing how we deliver programs? We don’t see it as very critical. It is said that at industry events, we want the three Cs: collaboration, community, and com- merce.We are providing the commerce and the collaboration and some content. However, we need to offer content that is very specific to what individuals need. This requires new com- petencies on the part of meeting planners. So much focus is still on ordering coffee rather than on
designing optimal learning experiences. When [I’ve attended] the Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in Las Vegas, I recall companies saying that they don’t want to sell at CES. Instead, they primarily want to be connecting and were interested in the learning side of the business. Changing meetings requires risks. In fact,
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we often see that the very best developments come not because the association is overly brave, but because others come from behind
and start to compete. In the medical field, a group started a conference for cardiologists that allowed them to watch live surgery. The cardiac associations went berserk, but then changed how their whole field delivers conferences. I am a capitalist at heart, and I actually think that we need competition. My event is evolving with parts like the TED event. I am trying to offer learning opportunities that atten- dees can’t get at regional meetings and trying to upscale it. The hardest part is those breakout sessions. They are an important piece and we want to use them, but don’t think we are even 50 percent there in designing them appropriately.
The learning experiences your company, The Masie Center, offers are events that focus on imagining the future of learning and challenging attendees to think and be learning leaders. What can planners specifically learn from you regarding meeting